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Willy Claes

Willy Claes
Photo: Filip Naudts
Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
In office
17 October 1994 – 20 October 1995
Preceded by Sergio Balanzino (Acting)
Succeeded by Sergio Balanzino (Acting)
Leader of the Party of European Socialists
In office
November 1992 – October 1994
Preceded by Guy Spitaels
Succeeded by Rudolf Scharping
Personal details
Born (1938-11-24) 24 November 1938
Hasselt, Belgium
Political party Different Socialist Party
Alma mater Free University of Brussels

Willem Werner Hubert "Willy" Claes[1] (Dutch: ; born 24 November 1938) is a former Belgian politician who served as the eighth Secretary General of NATO, from 1994 to 1995. Claes was a member of the Flemish Socialist Party.

Claes was born in Hasselt, Belgium. He graduated in political and diplomatic sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

Willy Claes began his political career in the Hasselt city council. In 1968, he was elected to the national parliament. In 1972, he entered the cabinet for the first time as minister of education. Between 1973 and 1992, he was minister of economic affairs of Belgium three separate times. He also served as deputy prime minister five times, and was an important negotiator in the formation of coalition governments during the 1980s.

Claes was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1992 until 1994, and Secretary General of NATO from 1994 until 1995, when he resigned after the discovery of a bribe of over 50 million Belgian francs (BEF) that was accepted during contract negotiations with Agusta helicopters during the time he was minister of economic affairs. A criminal trial was handled by the Court of Cassation, which is responsible for cases involving minister in function. Claes received a 60 000 BEF fine, a three-year probationary sentence and a five-year prohibition on running for public office. An appeal at the Court of Justice of the European Union resulted in the confirmation of the Belgian sentence.

References

  1. ^ Decan, Rik, Wie is wie in Vlaanderen 2000-2002, Brussel: BRD, 1999.

External links

  • NATO's Who is Who
Party political offices
Preceded by
Guy Spitaels
Leader of the Party of European Socialists
1992–1994
Succeeded by
Rudolf Scharping
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sergio Balanzino
Acting
Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
1994–1995
Succeeded by
Sergio Balanzino
Acting
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